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Gia Iakobashvili: Saakashvili’s authorities are Georgia’s enemy and the media shall decide which side it will be on

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“The time will come and we will put these authorities on felon’s dock”
The arrest of photo reporters under accusation of spying caused indignation of the majority of the society and journalists. Despite the fact that today all four of them are released, discussions have not subsided in the society and some people do not exclude continuation of the spying hysteria, although editor-in-chief of presage.tv, the journalists Gia Iakobashvili does not think so. In his opinion, the authorities have gained enough experience and they will not take such foolish steps any more.
Gia Iakobashvili, the editor-in-chief of presage.tv shares his opinions with “Georgia and World” with regard to events developed in the country and problems existing in Georgian media.
– The media has achieved its purpose, at least partially – the arrested photo reporters are released, while the opinion of the society has been split. Can we say that the authorities have been defeated?
– It is a fact that photo reporters are free and the society has finally seen complete feebleness of the authorities. In this case the authorities did not achieve the set goal and could not intimidate the media. Proceeding from this, I do not agree with those people who think that the journalists have been defeated. Since Saakashvili’s authorities are quite different from Shevardnadze’s authorizes, we shall talk based on the existing situation.  
Today Georgia has such authorities, that each of their defeat means Georgia’s victory.
– The journalists state that despite release of photo reporters, we shall continue a battle and shall not stop on the half way. How do you imagine continuation of the battle?
– We shall constantly remind our society about photo reporters’ case, we shall constantly talk about this and we shall enrich whatever experience we have gained in this battle (both the protest of the media in press or protest actions). Whenever we see Nika Gvaramia, we shall remind how he was saying that Koko Gamskhurida was an agent, and we shall ask him what he thinks now. Has he apologized? We shall always remind the authorities, that Bidzina Bregadze was the Premier of Tbilisi, while such a scum of the society as Beso Jugheli was one of the makers of Rose Revolution. We shall always remind this to the authorities, in order to not only show the real face of these authorities, but also to remember this well. The time will come when we will put these authorities on felon’s dock.
The fact is that it has been 8 years since the authorities has been opposing the media and I think the time has come when the media shall oppose them. The time of the balanced journalism is over, although for me personally it has never come…
We can definitely say today: Saakashvili’s authorities are Georgia’s enemy and the media shall decide which side it will be on. The balanced journalism is not appropriate in this case. I do not mean TV companies Rustavi2, Imedi, RealTV, since I do not consider them as media. While such important events were taking place around religious issues and photo reporters, these TV companies were starting their TV news about counterfeiters of plastic cards revealed in Europe.
– As per the disseminated information, the arrested photo reporters have provided the investigation with information about “other spies” as well and it is possible that soon “other spying” journalists will also be arrested. How do you think, does such threat really exist today?
– If we believe that photo reporters provided investigation with such information, then we shall also believe that they are agents. I do not believe that they are agents and, consequently, I do not believe that they provided investigation with such information. Besides, the authorities have moved backwards and I think they will not take such a stupid step. If someone is an agent, they shall really arrest such person, but this case has showed us that these photo reporters were not spies. Now the cases of those who were accused in spying shall also be reviewed, since, let’s say, I never believed in Vakhtang Maisaia’s spying.
When people get arrested under accusation of spying, the authorities shall present at least one argument proving their spying. If we recall a well-known documental movie “From November till November”, which was also dedicated to Georgian spies, the heroes of the movie are not only free, but one of them, Koko Gamsakhurdia has even been appointed as an ambassador in one of the funny organizations. They should explain where the logic is here.
– Although the basis of the above-mentioned threat in the society has been also conditioned by the fact that the authorities openly fight against media and do not restrain itself even from insulting expressions. When the Minister Vashadze calls media “so called”, while the President says “Damn you!”, does not this mean that an open battle against the journalists has started?
– The president is an inadequate person. I think he needs a serious psychological assistance and, for some reason, I think that “National Movement” takes care of this. As far as Grigol Vashadze is concerned, I cannot comment on his idiotic expressions. Let us recall that after August 2008 war, during a one-year period he was Russian citizen and, if we look at Grigol Vashadze’s biography, he has taken such steps, that he should be either a former agent, or is still an agent. I hope that as soon as these authorities will get changed, this issue shall be reviewed by administrative bodies.
– You talked about problems of the authorities. We should also mention what kind of problems Georgian media has.
– If we take into account the quality of articles and TV stories, the issue which exists in the media today is related to unprofessionalism. I say so because this bothers me. Another problem is non-existence of media means’ stand, the issue regarding devotion to own profession. 90% of the journalists dream of working somewhere in the press office. Another problem is also unity of the journalists, which, of course, is conditioned by different stands of publishers. For the majority of publishers, media is a business first and only then something else. Therefore, they often completely ignore the social responsibility and such attitude dictates the media means some rules of behavior.
– When we talk about problems of media, how can we explain the fact that the President considers ignorance of English as the main problem of the media, while he does not see the problem in ignorance of Georgian or any other problems existing in the media?
– This is only a cynicism on the side of the President, nothing else. There will be the third anniversary of the August war soon, the day when Georgian people celebrated the victory in the lost war on Rustaveli Avenue. After all these, probably, the President thinks that he can do and say whatever he wants, since his sayings have been overlooked many times.
– The authorities have submitted TV mast for electronic auction, that has caused a protest of the part of the society. What king of threat can this contain for independent media means?
– Naturally, this contains a threat, since now they can switch off any media mean at any time.
– Georgian political spectrum, including “the opposition six” did not keep its promise with regard to “hot political spring”, but now they are promising “hot autumn”. What is your, a journalist’s political prognosis with this regard?
– Georgia is a strange country. It is impossible to make exact prognosis in this country. I think that “the opposition six” hurried, when they promised us “hot summer”, but the fact is that only “the opposition six” will not achieve anything without active participation of the society.
Interviewed by Shorena Tsivkarashvili

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